GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — It was a lively meeting before the Grand Haven Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday as a plan to build a mixed-use development on the site of the much-loved Dairy Treat was discussed.
The city’s planning commission earlier this year approved the three-story development, which would include condominiums, on S. Harbor Drive at Lafayette Avenue along the Grand Haven Channel. The Dairy Treat that stands there now wouldn’t close, but rather move to fill a small space on the first floor.
But two upset neighbors filed an appeal, arguing the condo building doesn’t fit the “front porch” image of the area. The attorney for the opponents called the development a “Berlin Wall” and argued it isn’t line with zoning restrictions. He cited concerns about trash and the building’s proximity to the sidewalk.
“It is a stark building … built as high as possible, as close to the line as possible and as large as absolutely possible,” he told the appeals board.
The developer said the planning commission already found the building completely in compliance with all ordinances. He said the project should move forward as planned.
The current owners support the development.
“I am irritated by this,” one of the owners said of the objections in the appeal. “It’s an attempt to distort things.”
Supporters dismissed the concerns about trash, saying it can be picked up more often than it is now.
Most of the residents who spoke during public comment said they support development along the channel, but that the proposed building is not what they want. They were worried about parking and long lines at the smaller Dairy Treat.
The board ultimately tabled the issue without making a ruling. Members said they want more information from the planning commission to make sure nothing was missed. The board next meets June 19.
The appeals board has seven members, but only four can vote on the matter due to conflicts of interest. All four would have to vote the same to reverse the planning commission’s approval and halt the project.
Board members also told the crowd that they appreciate passion, but that broader concerns about ordinances should be addressed at a higher level rather than only in relation to this project.